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RSF extends voluntary disarmament deadline at Darfur tribal leader hometown

Weapons and vehicles including two ambulances captured from Darfur rebels by the RSF in Ain Siro on 1 June 2017 (ST photo)
December 4, 2017 (EL-FASHER) - The government militia Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has extended the deadline for the voluntary surrendering of illicit weapons at the hometown of the Darfur tribal leader Musa Hilal.

Last month, Hilal and three of his sons, as well as a number of his aides, were captured following heavy clashes between the SRF and his Border Guards Forces (BGF) at his headquarters in Mistiriyha, North Darfur state.

RSF second commander Abdel-Rahim Daglo said his militiamen managed to capture 25 unregulated vehicles with pintle-mounted weapons as well as one SAM-9 anti-aircraft gun, DShK 12,7mm machine gun and 2 binary machine guns in and around Mistiriyha during the last week.

Daglo, who visited Mistiriyha along with the North Darfur acting governor Mohamed Biraima and members of the security committee, asked the residents to listen to the voice of reason and maintain security and stability and cooperate with the RSF in the collection of illegal arms and unregulated vehicles.

He announced an extension of the deadline for the voluntary hand over of illicit weapons before to start the forcible phase of the disarmament campaign.

Daglo stressed that Hilal has caused harm to himself by ambushing an RSF vehicle and killing several of its fighters in Mistiriyha, describing the move as “clear criminal act”.

The RSF second commander added his militiamen did their best to avoid any confrontation with Hilal and only sought to drive the outlaws out of the area.

“However, Hilal had another opinion with the outlaws whom he brought to the area,” he said

He pointed out that Mistiriyha now enjoys full stability, denying reports that have been circulating on the social media claiming the RSF has carried out lootings and killings against women, children and the elderly.

For his part, the commissioner of Al-Waha locality Hassan Mohamed Hassan said: “all rumours which have circulated on the internet regarding Mistiriyha were mere slander”.

He called on Mistiriyha residents to abandon the manifestations of military life and go back to their normal civil life, urging them to support government efforts to impose the authority of the state.

Last August, the Sudanese authorities launched a six-month disarmament campaign to eliminate illegal weapons in the conflict-affected areas in Sudan, particularly in Darfur region.

However, Hilal refused to cooperate with the disarmament campaign and also rejected a government demand to merge his BGF militia with the RSF.

The tribal leader announced his readiness to confront government forces militarily if they attempt to disarm his militia forcibly.

Musa Hilal was designated by the US State Department in 2004 as one of the top Janjaweed leaders running a terror campaign against civilians in Darfur. However, the security agencies gradually distanced their activities from the tribal leader who formed the BGF.

He was angered by the formation of the RSF because the government promoted Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (aka Hametti) who was one of his aides to command this new militia, a move that he considers as a direct threat to his tribal authority.

Hilal left the capital Khartoum in mid-2013 and retreated to his hometown of Mistiriyha along with his troops and continued blasting the government and the ruling National Congress Party.

In 2014, Hilal’s troops seized control of western localities in North Darfur state including Saraf Omra, Kutum, Kebkabiya, Al-Seraif, and El Waha.

The tribal chief announced the establishment of administrations in these localities, naming his forces Sudanese Revolutionary Awakening Council (SRAC).

(ST)